Category Archives: 2) Change Facilitation


Change to prevent Loss

Change Facilitation

Understanding Change - The Aversion To Loss

“…’Cause people often talk about being scared of change,
But for me I'm more afraid of things staying the same,
'Cause the game is never won by standing in any one place for too long”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Jesus of The Moon

Whether it is in business, clubs, sports, the arts or any walk of life, there is a constant need to pay attention to the thousands of changes that are happening around us at any one time – and then adapt.   It was Charles Darwin who said “In the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

In the professional sporting arena, the capacity to change and improvise is revealed. A top team aiming to replicate last year’s performance by following the same formula for success is bound to fail. The circumstances and parameters will have changed and the competition will already have observed what created success and already be building a bigger and better strategy.  In business the same rules apply, although actions may be less in the public eye, there is still an audience of focused onlookers accompanied by a live scoreboard.

The biggest challenge is to change our human inclination to protect the status quo, even if it doesn’t make much sense.  It is well researched that people are not so much resistant to change, but to the perceived loss from change.  Loss aversion, whether from status, power or privileges is a stronger human motivator than the opportunity to gain – even if the opportunities clearly outweigh the losses.  In other words people are motivated more strongly by ‘pain’ than ‘gain’.

With this in mind, leaders must not only identify the need for change and promote the benefits of change, but also invest considerable time developing strategies to engage people on the journey of change and address the human condition of loss aversion that will exist in their minds.  Awareness of this human condition will help the leader to succeed in making the essential changes that will move the organisation towards success.

More information and guidance can be found with Synergy Global to develop teams that are committed and creative.

If you are interested in expanding you, your team and your organisation’s effectiveness, please contact us at +61(0) 439-066-067. Synergy Global: Delivering Effectiveness Consulting, Change Facilitation and Executive Coaching services to the Private. Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors since 1996.


All Work and No Play

Change Facilitation

All Work And No Play

Have you ever had that feeling of guilt because your four-da holiday could have been spent getting up to date on that paper your boss needs or leaving on time to meet an old friend who’s in town when you could have been finishing a project off?

Of course, work duties are important, but maybe your leisure time should get the same level of consideration. If you’re feeling tired, burned out and uninspired it’s time to chill out and re-energize. Pay attention to those feelings – it’s your body telling you it’s time to take a break.

Ask yourself:

What is going to help me achieve my goals?

What is going to help me stay motivated?

Am I functioning at my best – and, if not, why not?

The odds are that a holiday will ground you, fulfil you and give your brain a break allowing your natural creativity to recharge. You’ll come back to work with more pizazz than ever! Even that couple of hours catching up with a friend over a coffee or a nice glass of wine is a way of letting your ‘work brain’ get some rest.

It may not be possible to take a holiday or convenient to go out and meet a friend, but you do need some strategies for allowing your brain to recharge.

black Take a short walk to stretch your legs in your lunch break, even if it’s just around the block

black Eat a strawberry or an apple and pause to enjoy the taste and texture

black Get up from your desk and catch up with a colleague or make a coffee.

black Even a little gentle filing can use a different part of your brain and you’ll find your creativity will suddenly spring back into action!

It’s all about taking a holistic approach to work. Work/life balance is important, but it’s hard to keep these two in balance if the culture of your workplace isn’t conducive to paying attention to each individual’s needs. It’s up to you to work out how to keep yourself operating at your best.

Attention to health and wellbeing is the best way to achieve business goals and high performance. Sometimes it’s important to change organisational culture for sustainable success.

If you are interested in expanding you, your team and your organisation’s effectiveness, please contact us at +61(0) 439-066-067

Synergy Global: Delivering Effectiveness Consulting, Change Facilitation and Executive Coaching services to the Private. Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors since 1996.



‘I don’t have a Task’

Change Facilitation

'I don't have a task'

How High Performing Teams engender a sense of belonging by appropriate inclusion

Sometimes facilitators energise teams with fun ‘games’ – but those games always have a purpose. One of my favourites requires small teams of up to seven people to work together to share clues and then solve the puzzle based on those clues.

black Two of the 30 clues begin with the words ‘one of your team’s tasks is to …’

black A third clue states ‘your team has less than three tasks.’

black Participants in the exercise are told that they can share what is written on their clue sheets verbally as often as they wish – but they cannot show their sheets to anyone else.

This particular day, the exercise began with the usual stunned silence until someone said ‘I have a task. ’ More silence followed. A second person said ‘I have a task,’ (note the inexact manner in which these two people ‘translated’ and relayed the information on their sheets – subtly, team tasks became individual tasks). Despite this people started reading out their clues.

Someone said ‘there are less than three tasks.’ This is a thirty minute exercise at most, but after 20 minutes I realised that this team was doomed to failure. Some facilitators jump in and help to get a team to a ‘nice’ outcome. I have always preferred to observe the phenomena at hand and see what happens in the debrief – the most essential part of these exercises. I knew failure was inevitable because after 20 minutes one member of the team had not spoken a word.

In his hand he held vital clues. In my thinking - worse than the fact that he had not spoken, was the fact that nobody had engaged with him for twenty minutes – nobody asked him what was on his sheet.

In the debrief he was asked why he didn’t speak. He replied (somewhat defensively): ‘because I didn’t have a task.’ As he came under attack from the team for his inability to understand the exercise I stepped in and asked the two people with the team task clues to read them slowly and clearly – ‘team‘s tasks’ being the operative words.

Defence now turned to attack and the hitherto silent team member likened this experience to his everyday reality – particularly his frustration at being overlooked when ad hoc meetings were called and he missed out on other communications. I moved to take his ‘grievances’ to an off-line chat and then a strange thing happened. His team leader gently interrupted me and asked him to continue.

She now facilitated a twenty minute team discussion of his situation in which it emerged (news to me, but they all knew) that since the recent restructure things had become even more difficult for him – he was located on a separate floor from the others! Meetings happened and decisions were made on a daily basis – some big some small – and, because he was on a different floor, he kept missing out. He’d just got angrier and grumpier at the feeling of exclusion - and who wants to invite a grumpy person to meetings?!

The exercise just showed him as his typical grumpy self – sullen, silent and not sharing his clues! Tea-break came as a welcome relief for the team. When they had all left the team leader apologised for overriding my facilitation (I told her that I was more than happy that she had). What she said next stays with me twenty years after this happened: ‘He is a real problem for me, but he just won’t open up when I try to support him. I’ve learned more about how he is feeling in the last twenty minutes than I have in the last year – thank-you so much.’ (True Story – Andrew Mountford)

People need to feel they belong. Appropriate inclusion develops a sense of belonging and ensures efficient and aligned action in teams. This is one of the key behaviours of the Fifth Force 4-D model. For more information about how Synergy has introduced 4-D into organisations to create measurable & sustainable improvement in leadership & team performance, please contact

*Ref: Dr Pellerin, CJ, (2010) How NASA Builds Teams: Mission Critical Soft Skills for Scientists, Engineers & Project Teams, John Wiley & Sons, USA


3 Ways to Encourage Staff to Care

Change Facilitation

3 Ways to Encourage Staff to Care

Sometimes a bonus just doesn’t cut it. How do you make your employees care about the success of your business?

Here are 3 ideas that will make significant positive changes to your business:

1) Involve them in your Business Strategy

Have a Team Development Day and sit down with your staff to collaborate on systematic Service/Process Improvement ideas. They are on the front-line and they have ideas. Create an environment that encourages them to collaborate on new strategic ideas. Promote diversity and honesty in their approach to ideas.

Each employee has their own set of unique skills, strengths and all it may take to tap into them is a supportive space where there are no silly questions or thoughts. This approach not only shows the value you place on your team but it also gives them ownership of the implementation when you are putting new structural changes in place.

2) Take an interest in their Continuous Personal Development (CPD)

It’s not all about you. A happy worker has a healthy work/life balance and they have their own aspirations and vision of success. Help them to improve the skills they already have and nurture new ones so that they apply these to future roles and developments. If you show an interest in them, they will respect you, trust you and be actively interested in the company’s success

3) Show them your Appreciation; a Holistic Approach:

It’s the small things that count. My current boss has the kettle boiled and cups laid out for our morning coffee ready for our arrival. It certainly motivates me to get there early and have a chat before we start work!

Ask how they are feeling each day. Again, my boss is a good example; she asks us for our motivation scores, between 1-10, two to three times a day, and we discuss our feelings and how motivation can be improved.

These strategies might be hard for a large organisation (and need education for all the managers to make them work), but it’s worth showing your appreciation for your staff on an individual level. Are they getting breaks? Are they stretching? Greet them in the mornings and ask how they are (it’s amazing how often this common courtesy doesn’t happen). You’ll have a greater rapport because of it.

If you are interested in expanding you, your team and your organisation’s effectiveness, please contact us at +61(0) 439-066-067. Synergy Global: Delivering Effectiveness Consulting, Change Facilitation and Executive Coaching services to the Private. Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors since 1996.